My goal for All Saints is to plant an Orthodox Christian presence in West Point and the surrounding area. Where it goes from there is up to God’s will.
What do I mean by an Orthodox Christian presence? Am I trying to start a parish? Yes and no. Of course, the thought of becoming a priest and having a church in my hometown has crossed my mind more than 100 times. I even created this icon as a symbol of human harmony in the pursuit of holiness. Saints from Africa, Russia, Syria, and North America with Jerusalem crosses surrounding the icon of All Saints. A multi-cultural parish of our ancient faith in a small southern town would be a wonderful sign of God’s presence in our modern world.
However, this area is a stronghold of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Up until about 5 years ago, there was not even an Orthodox parish in Williamsburg. Therefore, the idea of creating one in a town without much exposure to the faith is a tall order. Not that I have not made previous efforts of inviting people to the West Point Library’s Community Room to introduce them to Orthodox iconography and prayer for a couple of years. Being a son of and former Baptist Pastor in lower King William County, I thought that (like Jesus) I would have a “Nicodemus” coming to me at night to learn about it. One or two people would show a passing curiosity about what “Rev. Gresham” has gotten himself into. However, only passing; a quick glance with no real interest.
This is why I created the website; to generate a real interest about the faith. The hope is that people will take the time to read the blog articles and think about the Orthodox perspective that I share. In a small town where traditional beliefs run deep, there are many reasons not to be seen looking into something different. Nevertheless, I believe there are some folk in and around town who are looking for a Christianity that goes beyond what they have grown up with. Something with ancient roots and timeless practices. This is what I was looking for and found in Orthodoxy. I want to give my neighbors a place to look and live as a good example.
An Orthodox parish in West Point, Virginia? If God wills it. But, it would be great if a few of us in Barhamsville, the Indian Reservations, and Saluda would have some good conversations over deviled crabs at Three Rivers Seafood.